Kennedy Prest, 9, has a very special role model to look up to – her mother.
The youngster was on hand Thursday to watch mom Natasha Prest get sworn in with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service during a ceremony in Dartmouth.
And while she also happens to be the first female African Nova Scotian firefighter in HRM, Prest said she doesn’t feel as though her journey of deciding to take on, and then tackling, the training necessary for such a highly respected and demanding profession was any different than that of her colleagues.
“I really don’t think there were any more obstacles than any of the 20 other recruits,” she said.
“It’s just hard work and determination, and you can truly do whatever you want to do if you set your mind to it.”
She admitted it’s “a little overwhelming” to be the first African Nova Scotian woman hired by the local fire department, pointing out there have been volunteer firefighters before her, but added it’s “also very satisfying.”
“It’s a great job if you’re willing to help out your community,” she said.
The Halifax woman hopes other females consider firefighting as a potential career option, perhaps one day even Kennedy.
“I’m hoping that with me coming through, the doors will open even wider,” she said. “You know, they see me jump off the fire truck one day, maybe they’ll be thinking that they might want to jump off the fire truck and do the exact same thing.”
Bill Mosher, Chief Director for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service, said in a news release that Prest and her fellow recruits are “a talented group who bring with them a broad range of experiences and diverse backgrounds.”